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Managing the Evolving Corporation

Recognition and Response – managing in turbulent times

Managing the Evolving Corporationby Langdon Morris • Van Nostrand Reinhold, 1995 • 238 pages; 84 illustrations


In today’s fast-changing economy, those who commit their corporations to outdated strategies are being left behind without a backward glance. How can you survive? What can you do to enable your corporation respond to today’s informed consumers? Managing the Evolving Corporation will transform the way you look at your organization and global economy.

Langdon Morris shows that the keys to success in this economic revolution are not control of raw materials, machines, or people. Instead, it is imperative to design organizations that optimize the flow of information. Morris’ powerful new “Recognition and Response” model of organization shows you how to transform your corporation into a high performance learning team that readily anticipates twists and turns in the changing marketplace.

In clear prose with dozens of actual examples, specific action plans, and with more than 75 illustrations and photos, Morris shows you how to transform your organization into a market leader.

Whether you are a CEO, board member, strategic planner, middle manager, or front line worker, this book will show you how to make the most of your organization’s resources and tools.

Praise for Managing the Evolving Corporation

“We are undergoing fundamental change in the 1990s, change that is forcing corporate leaders to search for new models, new approaches, new ways of organizing and working more effectively. Langdon Morris’ new book, Managing the Evolving Corporation, describes many of the new ideas that will surely help leaders in their quest for answers. He cogently describes new ways of creating learning organizations, and presents ideas for a stunning new workplace where senior managers can gather to share and leverage knowledge, develop new strategies, and guide their implementation. This readable book, with its innovative graphics, presents both theoretical and practical insights. Strongly recommended.”

Samuel M. Felton
Executive Director, Knowledge Advancement
The Strategic Leadership Forum

“Today, every bookstore seems to be stacked full of advice to managers on how to cope with unprecedented turbulence in the business environment. But Langdon Morris has done something unusual. He has built bridges, which connect established and emergent ideas about organisations and management; technology with human learning capacity; theory with practical action; process with content; and external change with internal transformation. The result is a powerful synthesis of ideas and experiences (including the author’s own) which brings fresh perspectives to the challenges now being faced by most businesses.

“For those well versed in organisational theory, this book will make unusual and welcome linkages and stimulate new insights. For those less interested in theory than action, Langdon offers a superb distillation of decades of thinking and research, makes it directly relevant for today’s organisation, and upon this platform displays a range of innovative but practical tools for organisational learning and transformation.

“Managing the Evolving Corporation has a few other merits too. It is an enjoyable read. It is a sensible length. It is comprehensible. It reminds us that change can be fun, and stimulates a desire to actually try out some of these new processes. It highlights other innovative work which readers may wish to explore further. And not least, thanks to the author’s willingness to reveal the size of his heart as well as the scope of his intellect, it poses some profound (and pressing) questions about the role of business in defining our values and our notion of community in the next century. You’ll not regret buying it, and you will finish it.”

Eamonn Kelly
Global Business Network

“Using the central concept of the design process, Langdon Morris illustrates how corporations can become evolving organizations. This book is exciting and useful for leaders and learners in organizations because it provides a clear planning process to effect institutional and personal change.”

Faith Gabelnick, Ph.D.
President, Pacific University

“Langdon Morris speaks the new language of the knowledge architect — as a systems thinker who integrates and evolves. This leading edge book forces you outside the nine dots to new targets for solutions.”

William L. Miller, Ph.D.
Director of Business Applications

“Sometimes it is necessary to change trains at the station, and occasionally it becomes crucial to exchange a once-useful mental model for a new one. If you believe that the world of business management has reached such a point, then read to see how business can move from command and control of structure to recognition and response in processes. Managing the Evolving Corporation introduces the elements from which will emerge new models for organizing dynamic corporations.”

John Hiles
President, Thinking Tools, Inc.

“Managing the Evolving Corporation is a clear, understandable, and important book for executives, designers, and technologists. It elegantly defines a new integration of computer technology and interior architecture to support the knowledge workers whose productivity is so essential to success in today’s competitive global markets. Langdon Morris shows us the future, and how to get there.”

Piero Patri
Fellow, American Institute of Architects
President, Patri.Merker
Architecture, Planning, Interior Design

“As we chart our way through the most turbulent sea change in business since the industrial revolution, a very few books will appear that provide us with navigational aids. Langdon Morris has written one of them. Managing The Evolving Corporation is likely to become required reading for those who intend to lead American business into the 21st century. Along with Peter Senge and Meg Wheatley, Langdon Morris opens a door to the future.”

Dean W. Engel
Managing Partner, The East West Group

Table of Contents


PART ONE – MODELS: The 21st Century Organization

  • Structure Becomes Process
  • Beyond Hierarchy
  • Recognition and Response

PART TWO – THEORY: Patterns of Change

  • The Rate of Change
  • The Flow of Information
  • Individuals and Institutions


  • The Design Process

PART THREE – PRACTICE: Knowledge Infrastructure

  • Information and Communication
  • Collaboration
  • Places for Learning

PART FOUR – PRACTICE: Transformation

  • Transformation by Design
  • Transformation Strategies
  • The Evolving Corporation


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